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Posts Tagged ‘National Security Agency’

It wasn’t long after 9/11 that the Bush administration decided that it needed better information about possible future attacks.  Clearly, if you know that an attack is coming you have a better chance of preventing it.  This logic is faultless, but in it’s inimitable style, the Bush administration was heavy handed, careless of the rights of American citizens, and generally inept in creating such an ability.  Years ago the National Security Agency, an organization whose charter restricts it to foreign surveillance, began to collect massive amounts of data on U.S. citizens. One of these methods was to monitor all phone and internet transactions across the Pacific Ocean that come through the main trunk line terminus in California.  Apparently, the NSA uses its vast computer resources to scan for key words or phrases that, according to some computer code, might signal malevolent intent.  I imagine there must be thousands of words, taken out of context, that could do that – words like hate, blow up, dynamite, bomb, explosion, death and so forth.  All of these words, like so many in the English language, can have more than one meaning or connotation.  The only way you can determine the meaning of the word is by the context in which it is used.

It has occurred to me that people from all over the world read my blog from time to time and so some of my blogs have certainly passed through the monitors of the NSA, and undoubtedly some of them must have kicked off a computer flag because of a word I used or because of a comment someone made.  However, a computer is a dumb machine – just ask anyone who programs them.  It will slavishly try to do anything the programmer asks of it, whether it makes sense or not.  Therefore,whenever a computer gets a hit on a key word it has to raise a flag so that a human can look at the text and see if it really is indicative of a threat.

I suppose I should be ranting about the loss of American freedom, the loss of privacy, the freedom from unreasonable search, and the loss of my Constitutional rights, but my government is wearing me down.  Just like everyone else in the country, I just along with domestic spying on the citizenry.  After all, Big Brother knows best and who am I to question his activities.  Yet, I can’t help but notice the similarity between the name of this organization, the National Security Agency and another agency from another time. I mean the KGB, the Soviet Union’s Committee for State Security. Sounds a lot like National Security Agency, doesn’t it?  The KGB was charged with, among other things, spying on citizens of the Soviet Union, just in case they were thinking about trying to overthrow the government.  That’s one of the reasons President Reagan called the USSR an evil empire – it was because of their culture of disregard for human rights.  One need only to look at the record of President Bush and Vice President Vader, the rationalization  of kidnap and torture, the spying on US citizens, and the theft of elections to realize that we have become that which we used to condemn.

So where are the Republican right wingers?  Where are the Libertarian defenders of freedom from Government? What sort of mental gymnastics do these people do in order to approve of our government doing exactly what we condemned the USSR for doing for its own people.  Oh,wait.  I think I understand.  This is different.  We’re just protecting ourselves from attack, while the Soviets were uh…let’s see, oh yes, protecting themselves from attack.

Haven’t we always been at risk since the day the USA was founded?  Didn’t we spend years fighting off the British?  Weren’t we almost always at war or about to go to war with one country or another to defend our freedom?  For the past 200 years, American citizens enjoyed freedom from government spying.  After all, it’s our country.  It belongs to us, not the government.  The government works for us – not the other way around.

But Bush and Vader turned it all around and made the NSA into an American KGB and they then used Homeland Security to terrorize the populace into thinking we were always on the verge of another terrorist attack. Rather than secure freedom for the American people, Bush and Vader stole our freedom and called it Patriotism – just like the Russians did under Stalin.  The problem is that they haven’t made us any safer.  But the NSA is still spying on us every day- in the name of Homeland Security.  How very Russian.  The question is will it ever end or will we have Big Brother peeping at us electronically forever? Do we, as citizens, have any say whatsoever about all of this anymore?  And if we have absolutely no say at all about the U.S. government spying on our conversations, the conversations of innocent  citizens, how far are we from becoming a shadow of the Evil Empire itself?

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